PHOTO: SPROULE SPORTS FOCUS
The 2018 Herald Women’s Premier League (WPL) was launched at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility at Speers Point today, Tuesday 6th March.
Youth and Senior Grades kick off across the Hunter Region this weekend. The addition of New Lambton FC and an influx of current and former Westfield W-League and Matildas’ players have sparked significant interest in the Region’s top-flight women’s league.
Northern NSW Football CEO, David Eland said, “The commencement of the WPL is always highly anticipated, but it’s clear this season that the addition of New Lambton FC and a significant amount of player movement has created significant interest and rivalry.”
New Lambton Coach, Keelan Hamilton has recruited well securing the services of former Matildas and Westfield W-League star Joey Burgess. Newcastle Jets’ stalwart Tara Andrews will provide plenty of experience and skill. Former Jet, Stacey Day has also made the move from South Wallsend.
Andrews will be joined in the Herald WPL this season by several current Westfield W-League stars. Rhali Dobson returns to Grand Final Winners Merewether FC after winning the Westfield W-League Grand Final with Melbourne City. Jets duo Cassidy Davis and Jenna Kingsley will no doubt lead from the front for Premiers, Warners Bay FC.
Newcastle Jets Westfield W-League Head Coach Craig Deans said at today’s launch that “The Herald WPL provided local W-League players with the opportunity to play year-round within a competitive environment and to give back to the local competition which had played an important part in their development as elite players.”
2017 Premiers, Warners Bay and fierce rivals, Merewether FC, who ran over the top of Warners Bay to storm back to win last year’s Grand Final 4-3 emerge as the teams to beat. New Lambton will secretly fancy their chances in the club’s inaugural season and Thornton Redbacks are expected to be the big improvers following the recruitment of three players from Football Queensland’s Women’s NPL, including Lauren Rouse Upjohn who represented SV Bardenbach in Germany’s Bundesliga 2.
Clubs contesting the 2018 Herald Women’s Premier League
Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Football Mid North Coast*
Merewether FC – 2017 Grand Final Winners
New Lambton FC – Inaugural season
South Wallsend FC
Thornton Redbacks FC
Warners Bay FC – 2017 Premiers and Women’s State Cup Champions
Sunday 11th March
First-grade kick-offs 2:30pm
Warners Bay FC v South Wallsend – John St Oval
Wallsend FC v New Lambton FC – The Gardens
Adamstown Rosebud JFC v Thornton Redbacks – Adamstown Oval
Merewether FC – Bye.
Football Mid North Coast (FMNC) has withdrawn from First Grade in 2018 due to player availability. FMNC will continue to field squads in the 14’s, 17’s and 20’s. Their omission will force a bye in First Grade in 2018. NNSWF will work closely with FMNC throughout 2018 to do everything possible to reinstate First Grade in 2019.